The largest sectors of economic activity

According to the Statistics Iceland Labour Force Survey there were 177,700 employed persons in Iceland on average in 2014, 52.2% of which were men and 47.8% women.

The distribution of workers by economic activity in 2014 (NACE Rev.2) shows that the largest sectors were: Wholesale and Retail Trade, 13.6%; Education, 13.3%; Human Health and Social Work, 12.2%; Manufacturing, 11.5%; Accommodation and Food Services, 6.8%; Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities, 6.5%; Construction, 6.1%; and Transportation and Storage, 6.1%.

The number of people employed in each sector is the sum of people who have either a main or a second job within the sector. This means that there is some double counting as individuals sometimes hold two jobs in different sectors. Individuals holding two jobs in the same sector are only counted once. The proportion employed in each sector is calculated on the basis of the total number of employed people rather than the sum of people employed in each sector.

Gendered labour market
There are considerable gender differences in how workers are distributed over sectors. Just over 42% of women are employed in either education or in human health and social work activities. In 2014 21.3% of employed women worked in education and made up 76.8% of all employees in that sector. That same year 20.9% of women worked in human health and social work, making up 81.8% of employees in that sector. Manufacturing employs the largest proportion of men, 15.2%. Men are 68.8% of those employed in the manufacturing sector.



The economic activity of the firms for which people work or were last working for is classified in accordance with the Icelandic classification of economic activity, ÍSAT 2008, which is built on the EU classification of economic activity, NACE Rev.2.

Implementation of the Labour Force Survey
The total sample size was 15,761 persons aged 16–74 years old selected randomly from the National registry. When those who had passed away or those who were living abroad had been deducted from the sample the net sample was 15,390 persons. In total the number of usable answers was 12,153 which correspond to 78.9% response rate. All figures have been weighted by sex and age groups.


Further Information

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